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Thread: "Pro" 4990 worth extra $ for BW only?

  1. #1

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    "Pro" 4990 worth extra $ for BW only?

    Sorry to take up space with what is to most, a fairly trivial question, but I'm pretty clueless about scanning, with the little that I do know coming from the archives here.

    I have a pile of 8x10 (and some 5x7) negs, all black-and-white, that I want to scan with a flatbed (have read various comparisons, have splurged for drum scans before, etc.).

    It sounds in some accounts like the advantages of the "Pro" version of the 4990 (~$140 more than non-Pro) are primarily in areas of color calibration; it includes Monaco and a different version of SilverFast.

    If I'm never going to scan color, is it worth the extra $140 for me, or will the version with the cheaper software do what I need?

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    "Pro" 4990 worth extra $ for BW only?

    IMO the Epson software willmeet your needs most of the time. OTOH Silverfast Ai is a fully featured set of scanning software that is often considered the 'industry standard' by many prepress houses. Nor arew the issues of color calibration totally valueless for scanning black and white. Many scan black & white in RGB and that would be the subjext of another long long post. Having said all that, if you are going to spend the extra why not go up a step in class and get the Microtek 1800f?

  3. #3

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    "Pro" 4990 worth extra $ for BW only?

    Wow, straight from the expert's mouth! Thanks for jumping in, Ted! Two follow-up questions:

    1) Is the difference between the 4990 and the 1800f primarily an issue of build quality (a difference that everyone agrees on) or will my 8x10 b&w scans be detectably better if one looks closely enough?

    2) If I do go with the 1800f, should I budget extra for the SilverFast software? I went to SF's website but it wasn't clear what I need to buy.

    Thanks again for your input.

  4. #4
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    "Pro" 4990 worth extra $ for BW only?

    Ralph,

    The 1800f comes with Silverfast Ai. You don't need anything else. In addition to build quality there is the different design (glassless scanning), significantly better DMax and much improved color registration (less fringing). Finally, better initial sharpness since the 1800 ppi is achieved with a single large sesnor array as opposed to the dual stacked array used in the 4990. Better optics too.

    The first image you see in the scanning article in the July-August issue of "View Camera" (should be on the stands in the next few days) was scanned on the 1800f and a high resolution file will be availabe on the website soon to download and play with (assuming you have the speed to download a 300+MB file).

  5. #5

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    "Pro" 4990 worth extra $ for BW only?

    For a review of the 4990 by the owner of the Yahoo Hi End scanner group go here:

    http://www.photo-i.co.uk/BB/viewtopic.php?t=49

    In a nut shell, he finds scans from the 4990 very comparable to scans from his drum scanner and from his Imacon and concludes that he'll be using it for everything except the most critical work.

    As to your question, Silverfast Ai is a good program and buying it alone costs something like $150 so the extra cost of the pro is probably worth it just from that standpoint alone if you want Silverfast. However, you may still wish to upgrade to the Studio version for the multi-pass scanning ability and that will cost $50. And if you want calibration capability you'll spend another $100 or so (though since you'll get Monaco with the Pro I assume you won't need Silverfast's calibration package). Finally, the instruction booklet that comes with Ai is virtually useless. To learn how to use the program I had to buy the book "Silverfast - The Official Guide" by Taz Tally. I'd consider that book a necessity for anyone who wants to really learn how to use Silverfast. You can buy it from Silverfast for about $50 but you can get if from Amazon for about half that. Finally, you'll have to devote a good bit of time and effort to learning the program, it isn't exactly intuitive.

    I used Vuescan for years. IIRC it costs about $50 for the pro version (free upgrades forever). It has multi-pass scanning and calibration capability plus it can be used with any scanner you might acquire in the future. Silverfast is dedicated to your particular scanner and you'll need to get it all over again if and when you get another scanner. I'm not convinced that I'm getting better scans from Silverfast than I was from Vuescan but then I'm still learning Silverfast.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  6. #6

    "Pro" 4990 worth extra $ for BW only?

    With my (admitably) limited experience with my 4990 and silverfast, there is no benefit in using this software with B&W 10x8 negatives. If you try and use the dust 'n' scratches removal option it completely shags the image.

    I was disapointed with the Epson Twain software that came with my previous scanner (2450) and invested in vuescan. However I find I rarely use it now with the 4990 as the Epson provided stuff now gives me what I want.

  7. #7

    "Pro" 4990 worth extra $ for BW only?

    Ted,

    Does the 1800f do well with 8 x 10 since those have to be done on glass? I am concerned how often newton rings show up! I have been considering the 1800f and see you recommended it a few times.

  8. #8

    "Pro" 4990 worth extra $ for BW only?

    My 4870 came with Silverfast . The program has all kinds of bells and whisles like movie tutorials built in. I consider it a pain to use and I find I can do anything I want with the Epson which has cropping, contrast , curves,and color control. Why complicate your life?

    I scan black and white 4x5 and color neg 4x5.

    Go to Calumet or B and H`s site and write the programs down which come with each version. Then look them up in google and see if you need what they do. I found there was lots of overlap, duplicates and stuff I didn`t want like panoramic stitching which is in Photoshop.

    My advice is save the money.

    There is backlighting in the cover for scanning 4x5, but it is not big enough to cover 8x10 on the 4870. You may wish to consider a a mchine with better backlighting if you want to do 8x10.

  9. #9
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    "Pro" 4990 worth extra $ for BW only?

    Phil,

    The 1800f (and all the other dual poath Microtek scanners for that matter) do fine with 8x10 and 5x7. The scanning path, all the optics and the CCD are above the glass tray. I routinely tape 5x7's to the glass on Microtek scanners and have never had a Newton ring problem as the glass is serving mainly as a support, only air between the scanning guts and your tranny/neg.

  10. #10
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    "Pro" 4990 worth extra $ for BW only?

    "The 1800f comes with Silverfast Ai. You don't need anything else. In addition to build quality there is the different design (glassless scanning), significantly better DMax and much improved color registration (less fringing). Finally, better initial sharpness since the 1800 ppi is achieved with a single large sesnor array as opposed to the dual stacked array used in the 4990. Better optics too."

    Ralph for your purposes I agree with Ted and the 1800f. For people like me who also do a ton of commercial color work the 1800f falls short because the Digital Ice does not work on film and we would spend huge amounts of time spotting. For us the 4990 is a better all around machine because of the DI for color commercial projects. If I had room I would buy both.

    Having said that the the 4990 is a pretty damn good scanner. Of the new work for my upcoming retrospective all the b&w and some of the color was done on it. In a head to head test with local drum scans, COMPARING FINAL PRINTS at 16x20 there was no real difference and of course a huge financial advantage.

    Also, Silverfast is vastly superior to Epson scan. Once you learn it you will never go back. The controls are amazing and operations like Digital Ice work better in SF because superior number crunching is going on to support the hardware.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

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